Below is the text of a motion on the NHS reforms that wasn’t accepted for debate by Conference Committee, including two short update paragraphs. Dr. Charles West is appealing this rejection, if you’d like to support this appeal please click here to sign up.
Conference Motion on Heath
1) the long-standing support of Liberal Democrats for the basic principles underpinning the National Health services: A high quality, accountable, responsive, accessible, comprehensive service, free at the point of use, funded by general taxation, with resources allocated fairly on the basis of need.
2) the decision of this conference in March 2011, to reassert our support for the implementation of the health policies in the Coalition Programme and to reject certain policies that were not in the Coalition Programme.
B) applauds the success of the Liberal Democrats in Government and in Parliament in obtaining amendments to the legislation and policy, including those which:-
1) increase transparency and accountability of Commissioning Consortia and ensuring they are responsible for the commissioning services for everyone living or visiting that area
2) uphold and promote the NHS constitution
3) rule out competition based on price as first suggested by the last Labour Government
4) modify Monitor’s role such that it is no longer an economic regulator charged with promoting competition as an end in itself,
5) recognises the importance of integrating health services and integrating health with social care in the interests of delivering high quality care.
6) the promise of fair financial arrangements to reimburse providers who treat patients with the greatest needs to tackle cherry-picking of patients by new providers;
7) remove the obligation on commissioning consortia to take responsibility for commissioning before they are ready and able.
C) recognises that the Government is itself no longer the universal provider of health services, but that democratic accountability of NHS services requires that the Secretary of State should retain the ultimate legal responsibility for securing the provision of NHS healthcare for the people of England
D) recognises that determining how to spend tax-payers’ money on NHS services is a public function, which must be carried out with full transparency, with the minimum of perceived or actual conflicts of interests; and reiterates our call for work which directly underpins commissioning decisions to be carried out using the skills and experience of NHS staff, and not be permitted to be outsourced to private companies.
E) Believes that promoting informed patient choice is desirable but, in the interests of equity, calls for:-
1) any legislative or mandated requirement on commissioners, the NHS CB or the Secretary of State, to enhance choice and competition should be a lower priority than their duty to increase quality and safety, improve fair access to services and reduce health inequalities.
2) patients, if utilising personal health budgets, to be prevented from spending tax-payers money on topping up privately-funded provision or on non-cost-effective treatments
F) endorses the proposition in the Coalition programme that public sector, voluntary sector providers and independent providers should generally be treated equally when services are commissioned or when providers are approved, subject to:-
1) there being a duty on the NHS CB, Consortia, Monitor and on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to carry out their functions in a way that avoids the risk of a transfer of such income or case-load as to undermine the ability of existing providers to provide emergency, complex case and intensive care services and to provide education, training and research and
2) that Monitor’s duty to prevent anti-competitive behaviour which is against the interests of patients, is matched by a duty to prevent anti-collaborative behaviour for the same purpose.
X) re-affirms its long-standing support for more local democracy in the NHS and calls for
1. Health and Well-being Boards (HWBs) to have a majority of elected members
2. local authorities exercising their overview and scrutiny function and HWBs to have the power of referral to the Secretary of State
3. commissioning groups to be fully co-terminous with social services local authorities, except where HWBs and local authorities agree otherwise
4. Directors of Public Health to remain independent sources of expert advice
Y) cherishes the fundamental values of the NHS and demands that
1. Commissioning groups are funded solely on the basis of the health needs of the population and the power to pay financial incentives to practitioners as a means of influencing their referral behaviour, is removed
2. the cap on Private patient income by NHS Foundation trusts is retained
3. the facility for transferring NHS assets, including land, to third party providers is removed
G) calls on Liberal Democrat parliamentarians to ensure that the current health reforms do not go beyond the coalition agreement in these areas